Reduced UKRI-ODA budget to impact 2021/22 funding

16 March 2021 | Professor Sue Harrison

Dear colleagues

It is with tremendous disappointment that I alert you to recent communication from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) regarding the reduction of Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding for the 2021/22 financial year.

The United Kingdom’s recent reduction of its aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income will have a significant impact on individual grants and the funding of ODA programmes, with 2021/22 ODA allocations reduced by around 50%.

Though we await further details, the UKRI-ODA Assistance Letter (11 March 2021) confirms that:

  • UKRI will continue to support all ODA grants and contracts according to their usual arrangements for the first quarter of 2021/22, but will not be liable for the cost of new activities entered into thereafter
  • UKRI is unable to provide funding for the majority of awards beyond the amount currently agreed on up to 31 July 2021
  • no new awards will be initiated where proposals have been submitted but have not yet reached the grant award stage.

UKRI advises that they will seek to mitigate the impact of reduced funding by working with researchers, partners and communities to reprofile and reduce grants. However, should an alternative approach not be agreed to, some grants will unfortunately need to be terminated.

This is a deeply concerning development for our research community and I urge you to review and plan in light of the information we have thus far received. We will keep communicating with you as we learn more and collectively figure out the way ahead.

If you have any immediate questions, please do contact the ODA or for UCT-specific queries.

Warm regards

Professor Sue Harrison
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation

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